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BCseawalker
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8468

posted 03 April 2006 06:58 PM      Profile for BCseawalker        Edit/Delete Post
From the Summary of

Strengthening Canadian Democracy: The Views of Parliamentary Candidates (PDF)

March 2006 Vol. 7, no. 2 3 IRPP Policy Matters

The democratic reform agenda has been driven by the recognition that many members of the general public in Canada are dissatisfied with aspects of the democratic regime...

But in order to gain a fuller comprehension of what ails and what may cure Canadian democracy, it is also important to take into account the sentiments and views of elites. This is the premise of Jerome H. Black and Bruce M. Hicks’ study, which draws upon data from the 2004 Canadian Candidate Survey. This was a survey of candidates who ran for the Canadian Parliament in the June 28, 2004, general election. Included in the survey sample were candidates from the Bloc Québécois, the Conservative Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party.

The broadly based questionnaire delved into the backgrounds and political experience of the candidates and explored their views on a range of issues. In this study the authors focus on the candidates’ overall levels of satisfaction with Canadian democracy and their opinions on the setting of election dates, the nomination process, the first-past-the-post system, proportional representation, the representation of women and visible minorities, free votes, party discipline and the power of Canada’s courts...

With regard to the views of candidates, Black and Hicks find that ... a majority in all five parties agreed with having fixed election dates and more free votes. There was also significant support for other reforms, which varied according to the party. On the issue of altering the electoral system, there was considerable polarization, with the Green and the NDP candidates sharply in favour of proportional representation and the Bloc, Conservative and Liberal candidates adamantly against it.

With reference to the underrepresentation of women and visible minorities, there were also noticeable differences, but they covered the full range of opinion. At one end of the spectrum were the Green and NDP candidates, who were most preoccupied with these representational gaps, while the Conservative candidates were at the opposite end of the spectrum, and Bloc and Liberal candidates fell in the middle.

This speaks to another clear pattern: where there were notable party differences, more often than not the Conservative candidates stood apart. For example, on the question of who should have the final say on the interpretation of the Constitution, only the Conservatives — overwhelmingly — thought that it should be Parliament, rather than the courts.

In comparing the views of the candidates with those of the general public, Black and Hicks offer two perspectives. One involves looking at which party has the most candidates on the same side as the general public; from this perspective, the NDP candidates were most frequently on-side with public opinion, followed by the Green and Bloc candidates. Looking at it from another perspective, since the public itself is often divided, one could identify the party that reflects similar divisions as being most in step with the public; from this vantage point, the Liberal Party was favoured. From either perspective, however, Conservative candidates were least likely to be in accord with the views of the public.

[My despair and cynicism runneth over.]


From: Unspecified | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 03 April 2006 07:09 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't care much waht candidates think. Maybe some Liberals or Tories think that their 39% "majority governments" are somehow democratically legitimate.

How convenient.

And the Bloc? They benefit IMMENSELY from the fact that their support is concentrated in one province. If people were elected based on their actual support across Canada, they would have twenty seats rather than forty.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
BCseawalker
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Babbler # 8468

posted 03 April 2006 07:13 PM      Profile for BCseawalker        Edit/Delete Post
Jeff, I agree with your sentiments, but we HAVE to care. It's those same candidates, the ones elected, who will or will not change how our government functions. Unelected Canadians aren't in the position to do it.
From: Unspecified | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Hawkins
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posted 03 April 2006 09:48 PM      Profile for Hawkins     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Unelected Canadians aren't in the position to do it? Unelected Canadians (the population minus 308) have all the power to change the way politicians think and do things. And it is us unelected that have every responsibility (if we have a democracy) to put ourselves in positions of influence (with mutual respect to other unelected individuals). And if we don't have the positions to participate, then we have to make them. Or do we live under an oligarchy that rotates ever so often (not that some actors in society don't want that)?
From: Burlington Ont | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
BCseawalker
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Babbler # 8468

posted 03 April 2006 11:43 PM      Profile for BCseawalker        Edit/Delete Post
Hawkins:
quote:
Unelected Canadians ... have all the power to change the way politicians think and do things.

All the power? My group has tried and tried and tried to get the attention of politicians, both the elected and the unelected. We've tried and continue to try - to the point of exhaustion - individually and as a group. What we have found: Unless you have power, are 'influential', politicians at all levels of government ignore you.

quote:
if we don't have the positions to participate, then we have to make them.

How? All efforts at communication aren't working.


From: Unspecified | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
Stunned Wind
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posted 04 April 2006 02:27 AM      Profile for Stunned Wind     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There is a great report just out of Great Britain. A Power Commission studied democracy there and managed to delve significantly deeper than many other reports that I've seen. Their report is a pdf that can be downloaded. I have found it very interesting reading.

Surely democracy is for the citizens of a country, not its politicians?

On the other hand, there have been those who thought that BC's Citizens' Assembly on Electoral Reform should have designed something to make life easier for parties and politicians (and, presumably then, with less consideration for the regular citizen).


From: Well! Now I'm in Victoria-Swan Lake! | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
BCseawalker
rabble-rouser
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posted 04 April 2006 03:48 PM      Profile for BCseawalker        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Stunned:
Surely democracy is for the citizens of a country, not its politicians?

Yeah, that's the rumour. Alas, it's one that our politicians - every damn one of them, every damn party - so very quickly ignore once they've tasted even a teensy bit of power.

Another part of the problem is the corporate lock on mainstream media.


From: Unspecified | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged

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